Tencent to begin closed beta for cloud gaming service Start

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Screenshot of Start’s website (Image Credit: Tony Xu/TechNode)

Tencent has on Wednesday launched a website for its cloud gaming service named “Start,” allowing users to apply for slots in a closed beta that will be available in Guangdong province and Shanghai.

Users can only log in on the website with their QQ accounts, and need to provide information including their phone numbers, broadband providers and bandwidth. They can choose any number of the five available platforms on which to experience the service: Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android and TV.

The website also asks users to show their “most unique side” in the “reasons for application” section, stating that the closed beta has limited slots. There doesn’t seem to be a word limit for this section.

Users not in Guangdong and Shanghai can still submit applications but won’t be able to trial the service until its open beta. The website did not specify when the closed beta or open beta will start.

Tencent did not give more details about the service when reached by TechNode. It did, however, add five Start-related positions on its recruitment website. Four of them are for senior platform engineers, and one is for an overseas operation manager.

Start could get some support from game engine Unity, which announced on Monday at the Game Developers Conference 2019 a partnership with Tencent to support its cloud services.

Prior to Start, Tencent already showcased a cloud gaming platform named “Tencent Instant Play” in February, which is the result of a partnership between Tencent and Intel that works on PCs and smartphones. The service enables users to play games with high hardware requirements without using premium computers or installing games.

The launch of Start’s website came less than a day after Google unveiled its cloud gaming service Stadia. Earlier this month, Microsoft also provided the first live demonstration of its game streaming service called “Project xCloud,” which was made known last year.